July 20, 2020

#BookReview: No Rules: A Memoir by Sharon Dukett @travelsed






Synopsis: It’s 1971 in Connecticut, and sixteen-year-old Sharon’s parents think that, because she’s a girl, she should become a clerical office worker after high school and live at home until she marries and has a family. But Sharon wants to join the hippies and be part of the changing society, so she leaves home and heads to California.

Upon arriving in California, Sharon is thrown into an adult world for which she is unprepared, and she embarks on a precarious journey amid the 1970s counterculture. On her various adventures across the country and while living on a commune, with friends and lovers filtering in and out of her life, she realizes she must learn quickly in order to survive—as well as figure out a way to reconcile her developing spirituality with her Catholic upbringing.

In this colorful memoir, Sharon reflects upon the changes that reshaped her during the 1970s women’s movement, and how they have transformed society’s expectations for girls and women today—and, through it all, shares moments of triumph, joy, love, and awakening.
 


Goodreads
Amazon

Rating: ★★★★
My Review:  
No Rules is a reasonably well-paced memoir with a few jarring time jumps (largely over her days in school, which I admit I probably would have found fascinating in their own right) of the 1970s in the US and Canada, when hippies roamed the highways, hitchhiking to find a place to be free. While I barely found myself able to relate to the author, that didn't detract at all from the story itself and her path to find her own form of freedom and spirituality coming from an extremely sheltered upbringing.

I appreciated the author's candor in describing how easily she fell into bad situations, struggling to learn but often finding the process difficult. It made her human and more accessible than many people would willingly admit. Learning isn't always a one-off lesson, which Sharon reveals repeatedly as she struggles to break her own cycles to eventually end up somewhere better than she was before mentally, physically, and spiritually. She doesn't try to make herself look good in any light, either.

This is a good memoir I'd call 4.5 stars, though for the sake of ratings sites I will round it up to 5 with the caveat that it's not perfectly paced. 

Go Into This One Knowing:  Potential triggers for rape and sexual abuse, mild physical abuse, and drug use.







Review

“This illuminating coming-of-age account chronicles a young woman’s counterculture journey. Dukett’s revealing memoir effectively captures the restless disillusionment of many members of the generation that came of age during the ’60s and ’70s.”
Kirkus Reviews

“. . . you can almost feel the author sitting next to you, telling her story as an aunt or grandmother would.”
Readers’ Favorite (5-star review)

No Rules does more than pull us into the adventures of a girl who finds the courage to leave home and forge a life contrary to everything she has been taught. It is also a reminder that every girl has the right―and owes it to herself―to grow, learn, succeed, and become the woman she is meant to be, no matter how difficult it is to find her way and her purpose in a male-dominated society.”
―Victoria Zackheim, author of The Bone Weaver

“This memoir is filled with beauty and fear and fearlessness and courage and audacity and words to inspire all girls and women that life, as Helen Keller once said, is an adventure . . . Read this book. Give it as a gift to every woman who needs to believe in the greatness of her own life.”
―Amy Ferris, author of Marrying George Clooney: Confessions from a Midlife Crisis

“Beyond flawless exposition, Dukett’s memoir also offers an unflinchingly honest recollection of her years in late adolescence as a “hippie chick” runaway and in her competent story telling hands that is one hell of a story.”
―Corie Skolnick, author of Orfan and America's Most Eligible

“With No Rules, Dukett gives us acute reality around the teenage fantasy of being so mad at your mother you run away from home. Since it’s 1971 and dropping out is a generational pastime, her long journey to womanhood is peppered with the familiar signs of the counterculture times. . . . Relive those days, or experience it all for the first time at her side. You know you want to.”
―Rita Dragonette, author of The Fourteenth of September

About the Author

Sharon Dukett has been a computer programmer, deputy director in state government, cocktail waitress, and project manager (PMP certified), and she has designed and embroidered handmade clothing. She travels extensively using loyalty points and avoiding tourist traps. When she is home, she and her husband live in central Connecticut in a house he built that overlooks the Connecticut River―the house they raised their family in. When not writing or blogging, she is reading, skiing, biking, golfing, spending time with family and friends, creating clutter, and committing to more activities than she probably should. She loves reading memoir from a variety of backgrounds―to learn how others feel, experience life, and deal with their struggles. No Rules is her debut memoir.









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